What's in a vocational qualification?

09 June 2011

A new book exploring the mobility and transparency of vocational and education training (VET) across Europe will receive its official launch at the Nuffield Foundation tomorrow. 

Knowledge, Skills and Competence in the European Labour Market: What's in a Vocational Qualification by Michaela Brockmann, Linda Clarke and Christopher Winch, is based on research funded by the Foundation and published by Routledge. 

The book examines how qualifications, knowledge, skills and competences are understood in different national contexts and trans-nationally and reveals a complex picture of differences and similarities both within and between countries. Against the background of EU policy initiatives, and in particular the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), an important focus is on the prospects and difficulties of establishing cross-national recognition of qualifications.

Drawing on case studies of particular sectors and occupations in England, France, Germany and the Netherlands, this insightful book, written by leading academics in the field, will be a vital resource for students and researchers involved with vocational education and training, continuing professional development, human resource management and European Union policy.

Academics and policy makers from across Europe will attend the seminar and book launch to discuss the state of English VET and particularly the prospects for mobility and transparency of English qualifications in the European context. 


'This book courageously confronts the issues with which whole Europe is struggling: qualifications and the labour market! Its challenge is to show how, despite strong path dependency, there can be as much diversity between as within countries in the understanding of knowledge, skills and competences. This is a very valuable contribution to present European debates on the "legibility" tools that are the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET).'

Annie Bouder, Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur les Qualifications (Cereq), France

'This is a timely book, providing, for the first time in English, detailed and critically informed accounts of the historical and conceptual basis of vocational education in Germany, France and the Netherlands. It will be a unique resource, not only for comparative studies, but also for policy makers seeking to build on the possibilities of the European Qualifications Framework.'

Michael Young, Institute of Education, University of London, UK